Monday, January 30, 2012

Mugging It

It's after four o'clock in the afternoon and I'm enjoyed a hot mug of organic roasted barley tea.  I love it dark and rich where it has a similarity to coffee without any of the same effects.  Instead of creating heat in the body like coffee, barley tea is cooling.  You might think why would I want that in the middle of winter?  Well, depending on your body type, (I have a lot of fiery pitta) how much you exercise and what sorts of things you eat, you can easily have internal heat any time of year.  Barely is also fat dissolving.  I'm not sure how much of that effect is in the tea but not bad for staying slender and feeling light and energetic. 

I got mine from my favorite Japanese market.  They only had organic in tea bags.  I've bought it loose before where I loved to steep it in a french press.  You can enjoy it anyway that you might like coffee.  Barley tea with soy/rice/almond milk.  Half and half or cappuccino style.  A swirl of agave or maple syrup is nice too.

Sunday, January 29, 2012

Pickiness Pays

I must look a little silly as I was pour over the butternut squash in Whole Foods.  A woman reaches over me to grab one without even looking at.  Instead she looks at me as I pick them over.  I take one only to find it is more yellow underneath, putting that gourd back, and then spotting a much darker one with a long neck that is perfect.  The darker they are, the sweeter they'll taste, and I do like sweet. 

I squeeze the onions assuring no soft spots, Inspect the leaves of kale to be sure the color is just as dark in the light away from the misleading case and not starting to turn yellow, I look for firm burdock with smooth skin, smaller carrots that have no visible cracks and the nice round small turnips that look young and fresh.  My celery root is more flesh than rind, I pick the oranges that are heavy for their size with a smoother skin.  This woman must think I'm terribly picky.

Choosing well though makes dishes tastier and faster because there is less effort needed to make a great meal.  If the squash were flavorless, what good is it?  Instead I am rewarded with a quick lentil single serving stew.  I pour in a little olive oil into a pan to heat up and start sauteing chopped onion and carrots.  I add a little of this rich orange squash and water, use up some left over leaves of romaine and some brown lentils I need to finish, with a sprinkle of tamari.  I put the lid on and keep simmering until the liquid is gone and the vegetables soft.  Delicious.  My only regret is that I didn't make more.  It would be wonderful mashed into patties with bread crumbs or brown rice for burgers.

Friday, January 27, 2012

Be Health Wise

If you are thinking of doing the food coaching teachers training - there are only a couple of spots left so grab yours right now by signing up for four sessions.  More info HERE.  They will only be available for one more week.

One of my favorite adjuncts to good eating is getting acupuncture and herbs from a fantastic doctor of Chinese medicine named Bethany Muhl (  Unlike many doctors I have used, she seems to be able to fix things in just one or two sessions.  When you know how to utilize food, then other treatments can be more effective and last.  Many of the fun foods, treat foods and things that I used to take for granted, create inflammation.  Inflammation will render your external treatments far less useful.

Recently there have been diets jumping on the bandwagon with anti-inflammatory diets.  Sometimes they make sense, as in eating more greens and mineral rich foods that can reduce inflammation.  Only not all greens or mineral rich foods are going to be alkalizing.  Dates for example are high in minerals.  Especially for their size.  Only what else are they high in?  What makes them so sweet and delicious is all of their natural sugar.  Sugar, even from fruit, can create inflammation and contributes to pain of all kinds.  Only dates will end up on an alkalizing list simply because no one is looking at the sugar and just measuring mineral content.  Get wise when you look into what creates health. 

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Bust a Myth

I once read Madonna saying something about thinking meat wasn't macro and recently I met a young woman who thought if she ate raw she was healthy.  Both are wrong.  Any diet, vegan, meat eating, macrobiotic, raw, blood type, kind, pescatarian, vegetarian, or any other version of eating that you might have taken from a book, can be healthy or not healthy.

Meat isn't vegetarian but can be perfectly fine as part of a balanced diet.  Too much meat is unhealthy for you and the planet, but animals have needed to eat animals since the beginning of life.  It's a personal choice.  If you feel better with or  without animal food in your diet, be mindful of balance and that everything changes.

I've seen macrobiotic people sink into horrible habits and justify their rice cakes or rice syrup as whole grain which is like using french fries as your main vegetable and they wonder why they're having wild mood swings.  Then I see people say they only have a couple of beers each night and wonder why they need coffee in the morning.  If you had a large meat eating past then a raw juice fast might feel great until you feel depleted and tired.

There are some simple rules to learn about food that just work.  You start to see after a few weeks of playing with new foods and new ideas, how you can find your way to living a life that feels great and looks great on you.  What seems to be best is a blending of diet book ideas to create a personalized way for you.  Ever seen strict macrobiotic people who look old and dry?  What about raw foodies who can't keep a thought in their head they're so flighty? Did a vegan who was constantly running to the doctor make you shy away from restaurants serving vegan food? 

Drop your fears and get a guide who will show you that there are good everyday foods and balance and there are fun foods and times to indulge.  Some vegetables are cooling like turnips, collards, cabbage, or summer squash.  Some vegetables are strengthening like lovely burdock root.  Different preparations can make them more or less of those things too.  While that might seem complicated to understand, it really isn't.  It's just better to find out why your body, with your constitution and your past, will react differently than someone else.

I'm excited for the folks showing up who want to be teachers.  You guys are getting it both for yourself and others.  There are just a couple of spots left, so if you have been thinking about learning more - Jump in.  You'll be glad you did.  Sign up now

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

To Answer a few questions and a recipe for the rest of you...

Since posting about the food coaching teaching training, I've had some great interest.  Here are answers to a few of your questions:

1. Can anyone do this?

Yes absolutely - but I will only be offering to those who sign up right now with the few spaces left.  Probably won't do it again.  I will be moving on to other things.

2. How many sessions will it take for me to get everything you listed?

Everyone is starting where they are at, so it is different for each person.  Could you absolutely be up and running and starting your own business in 8 weeks?  Yes.  Will there be more to learn?  Of course.  I never stop learning.  I hope you continue to grow and if you want more sessions as you go along you will know and we both will know where you are at and what you might want to work on.  I suggest beginning with 4 sessions and taking it from there.  If you already have background in teaching or have customer service skills or have read and trained with food, you might only want 4 sessions and take it from there on you own.

My feeling is that each of you will reach people who can use what you have and will be attracted to your particular style and background. 

3. Can I just do one session now and more later?

Certainly you can, but I find there is a momentum that builds with weekly coaching that gets completely lost when you start and stop.  Once you have a good foundation and just need a booster or some new tools for a particular problem then popping back for a quick random session makes sense.  In the learning phase it's good to do chunks of 4 because it takes 21-30 days to create a habit.  You will be making changes and learning new things.  They will stick much better if you stick with a four week cycle.

4. I can sign up anytime to do the teacher training right?

No.  I'm sorry.  I'm just offering this right now.  If you are interested, please dive in and let's get you started.  That goes for anyone who would like to do some session work with me.  I will soon be switching things up and will most likely become very high priced and exclusive.  At the moment I am excited to work with you and get you to your goals.

If you have more questions feel free to contact me. 

And now, here's a recipe you can play with and make your own.  Use what ever veggies you like.  I usually make my own broth from scraps or fresh vegetables.  You could use any broth you like, Chicken, Dashi, etc.  Enjoy!!

Cauliflower and Herb Risotto

10 Cups veggie broth
2 Cups short grain brown rice, soaked for 3 hours and drained
6-8 cloves garlic, chopped
8-20 basil leaves, sliced
1 tsp. tarragon
1 Tablespoon white miso paste
1-2 Tablespoons olive oil
Mirin or white cooking wine
Ume vinegar

Place the oil in the bottom of a large skillet or pan and place over medium/low heat.  Add the brown rice and stir for five minutes or so.  Sprinkle in Mirin or cooking wine to taste.  Add the vegetables and herbs and continue to stir.  Add the broth by the cupful.  As you stir, the rice will absorb the broth.  As one cup gets absorbed, add the next cup and continue until the rice is creamy and soft.  This will take about 30 minutes or more and you will use most all of the broth.  Add diluted miso and Ume vinegar to taste.

Saturday, January 21, 2012

Limited Time - Get Trained - Make Life Delicious!

You should enjoy your food.  For that matter you should enjoy your life.  What have you been baking up for yourself lately?

For a short time I will be offering training for those that would like to learn to be a food coach.

Session times are limited so please grab yours now:   You don't need to have any prior training to begin.

Some items we will cover include:
  • How foods work in the body
  • Specific foods for specific ailments
  • What zaps or creates energy
  • How to eliminate cravings and what to do if they creep back
  • The lasting solution to weight loss where you get to eat and be satisfied without worrying about calories ever.
  • Skin solutions for different bodies.
  • Acid/Alkaline balancing vs. Yin/Yang balancing
  • The good and bad with salt
We will cover many systems such as vegan, raw, macrobiotic, Asian, western and Indian diets and where your focus might be.
  • You will be required to do some reading. 
  • Reports will be oral or written, you get to choose.
  • You will create your own packet materials and be given examples so that you will have a booklet to offer clients and a good package you can feel proud of.
  • You will be given plentiful coaching tools that are not offered anywhere else such as menu planning tools, question sheets that help clients become clear on their goals and thus reach them sooner, recipes and more.
  • You will get to know some ancient remedies that work wonders.
You will begin being an expert in your chosen area.  I picked macrobiotics, read every book on the subject and studied voraciously with my teachers.  I will ask you to pick readings where your interest lies and they can certainly be food studies books from anywhere.  I do have reading lists if you need them.
In addition you will get:
  • How to work with clients in person and on the phone
  • What it takes to create your own seminars and get bookings
  • How to write articles that will create publicity
  • Beginning your business, tips on what you can do to turn this into your day job
  • Getting your website and materials working for you
  • My personal experience from 20 years of teaching, what works, what I could have done better from the beginning, etc.
This is personalized instruction so each of you will have your own order of working and need to spend more time on some things and less on others.  You may want to work just on the food for four sessions and then do another four sessions just on the business.  How you do it is up to you as there is a lot here.  I look forward to helping you share your love of health.

Thursday, January 19, 2012

What are you Weighting For?

If you have been reading my posts for a while, you know what I feel about weights and measures - Let 'em go!  Toss out that scale.  If that scares you, all the more reason to bring it to Good Will or The Salvation Army.  It will do your waistline a world of good.  Why?  What you are looking at as you fixate on numbers is what isn't working. 

You get what you are paying attention to.  That might make you believe looking at those numbers keeps you in check and helps you attain your goal.  It doesn't.  It just makes you feel bad and the bad feelings can lead to binges, bad choices or stressing out.  The number is never right. 

First off, scales don't measure your size, they are simply telling pounds.  A pound of feathers is huge compared to a pound of iron.  They weight the same.  If you are gaining muscle and shrinking in size, you still could weight more but look great. 

Second, the number might temporarily make you happy as you see you lost a few pounds but it is never low enough when you are playing this game.  That keeps you feeling bad and looking for a win much like someone playing with money in Vegas.  You keep looking for the win and the intermittent reinforcement has you hooked like an addict.  Drop the game altogether and focus on what you are eating, enjoy it immensely knowing your delicious and wise choices are making you slender and satisfied.  If you need ideas of what to choose and how to get to your goal in the healthiest ways.  Book a session with a coach.  Get support and dump the scale.

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

How Clean Do You Feel Inside?

Clean is a good feeling.  It's a light, energetic, everything working as it should kind of feeling.  Tingly, smooth, happy and good are all words you might use if someone asked you to tune into what you were feeling.  Is that how you woke up this morning?

I remember when I first got "clean".  I thought my teacher was a bit fanatic.  After all, my grilled cheeses were vegan, my chocolate milk was made from soy and I'd given up McDonalds, KFC, Lucky Charms and Captain Crunch years before.  I ate french fries from finer establishments and loved health food stores.  He wanted me to give up my beloved sugar, start eating whole grains and taste the difference between organic and non organic.  I was sure I would prove him wrong or irrelevant.  Instead, he turned out to be right.

The organic did taste better (and years later my food studies teachers agree...), without cane stuff and adding in the whole grains, far more veggies and giving up on most processed or refined anything, wow did I feel clean.  The biggest key was learning which food did what.  What foods could make me feel motivated and what foods calmed me down.  Each item has it's own unique properties.  While one green is going to alkalize, another will create acid and inflammation.  This was also important for my various aches and pains to stay away.  And they have now for years.  I can adjust what I'm eating at any time and it's a lot quicker too.  So after a little too much indulgence I hop right back into that good clean feeling.  Do you?

Monday, January 16, 2012

First I want to say that if you have been thinking of being a food coach yourself, I've created a teachers training that will only be available for a limited time.  A few of you had been asking so it's here!  Email me for details.

Secondly, how many of you are inspired  or distressed by award show season?  Does it make you feel good that you could walk down the red carpet and wear one of those gowns or do you feel like that is an impossibility?  I've never had botox or lipo and many of those stars haven't either.  Although good lighting is always welcome and keep that camera a little ways a way...

You can eat and be satisfied, feel terrific and look your best.  You just need some great food and know how to make it easily or order wisely.  Yes, many of those stars do get in their own kitchens and eat a plenty.

I recently went to a party where I saw a man I had not seen in many months.  I have hated his starvation approach to staying thin, and now I really saw how that is taking its toll.  He looked grey and pinched.  I felt sorry for him.  I equally felt sorry for another woman who was embarrassed by her rolls of fat that couldn't be contained by her attire.  She joked about it to try and make herself feel better about eating a few bites of the perfectly healthy and beautiful spread.  There is absolutely no reason to feel badly about food.  Once you understand it, you can create less wrinkles, a tighter tummy and thinner thighs in no time.  Some foods are made for giving you energy and some are designed to clear you of flab.  Indulgences won't throw you off if you are consistently eating a nicely balanced assembly of true whole foods.  You should enjoy your moments.  Maybe go get a gown....  Learn what makes the best balance for you.

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Get the Juice

To juice or not to juice, that is the question.  Well it's the question I seem to be getting asked today.  Cleanses are on peoples minds 'cuz they want to clean up and have a fresh start for the new year.   Juicing isn't an across the board all out good for you way to go.  It depends on your body type, your condition and what you have been eating.

If you have been eating a lot of meat and heavy foods for a long time, are pretty yang in body type and are feeling like lead, well, juicing might make some sense.   If you are doing a cleanse such as the 5 day liver or kidney cleanses you buy from Dr. Shultz, you'll want to do the juicing as he recommends.  Those short super clean out with herb cleanses are enhanced by juicing.  You get a little fuel but nothing to digest so the herbs can do their job better. 

Some people will find trying to do a lemon juice fast or hap hazard juicing regime can start out fine and then actually just make them overeat when they are done with their "cleanse".  Without the herbs factored in, many of the juicing cleanses are just a temporary fast from food and do not go deep into the body to really release much at all.  You might feel high from endorphins kicking in temporarily.  More often folks get grumpy and hungry and start fantasizing about what their next meals will be.

If your immunity is weak or lowered, juice can be a huge punch of sugar with no fiber attached and be a big old whack to your already compromised immunity.  Opt instead for simple whole grains (not bread, pasta or anything made with whole grains but the real deal.), vegetables and cleansing sea veggies instead.

Monday, January 9, 2012

I'm proud of a client, I'll call her Lee here.  She wrote that she liked something she saw on this blog.  She had given up on her hopes of being slim.  She didn't think much would work for her anymore.  She felt old (at 50 something) and used up, but something made her write to me that day.  She responded to something I said.  I felt that if she was writing to me, she really didn't want to give up, she wanted to be shaken up.

I used some strong language and coached her a little to lift off the deep blanket she had covered over herself that was made up of all the things that didn't work in her life.  She was literally being depressed by all of these thoughts and food had become her only comfort and friend. 

Lee then slowly began doing sessions.  Shifting her diet was huge because as the fog lifted she was more motivated to let go of her depressing thoughts.  She got to see they were just thoughts and not necessarily even true.  Then she had a setback.  Her husband left her, she got into a car accident and these events seemed to put her right back into a depressed state.  It took some time but when Lee was willing we got to work lifting off the negativity, showing her how to clear her own blocks and giving her good foods to eat everyday. 

I know one of the things she was most worried about as she was doing her sessions was money.  I kept reassuring her that it would all work out.  When one is committed, things show up.  I just didn't know how or when but I knew she would be okay.  Today I got an email from Lee months after we had stopped working together.  She told me it did all work out.  She got two large settlements and is now thinking about moving to South America which had been her dream.  Oh and that she is buying all new clothes because all of the old ones are too big.  Good job Lee!

Sunday, January 8, 2012

It's been so warm here this winter in NYC that I'm eating combinations of warming and cooling foods.  I made a delicious salad with arugula, roasted acorn squash, lentils and carrots. But the call of the sweet smelling chestnuts is everywhere.  They're in the markets, roasted on the streets and pouring from vendors as I walk through Chinatown getting my Hato Mugi barley.

I was looking through the archives and found these little bites:

Quinoa with Dried Chestnuts
This is a wonderful breakfast dish as the extra water makes it creamy.  The chestnuts add their own sweetness.  You could also use this in a pilaf. I would suggest cooking the chestnuts in 1 Cup of water first and then adding rinsed Quinoa with 2 Cups of water for 20 minutes more to make a fluffier dish and add some veggies to it to make a pilaf.

1 Cup Quinoa soaked in 3 Cups water overnight
1/4 to 1/2 Cup dried chestnuts soaked in
1 Cup of water overnight
1/2” strip kombu sea vegetable

Discard any red pieces from the shell of the chestnuts that may have clung to them.   Add the chestnuts and their soaking water to the Quinoa and it’s soaking water in a pot, for a total of 4 cups of water.  Add the small strip of kombu and bring to a boil.  Cover the pot and turn the heat down to low.  Simmer for 45 minutes. 

This dish is also very nice by adding fresh blueberries on top of the hot grain before serving.
Or try it with apple chunks and cinnamon cooked into it. 

Fun Facts:
Chestnuts are much more easily digested than any other nut.  They have very little oil and a sweet flavor that is warming.  Chestnuts are calming to pitta and vata in the Ayurvedic system.  In Chinese medicine they are strengthening for tendons and nourishing for spleen, stomach, pancreas and liver.  Not bad for a fun little food.  They really fill you up too.  To roast fresh chestnuts, make a slit with a knife a couple of times to pierce the shell in an X shape.  Place the chestnuts in a pan and bake in a 375° oven for 15 minutes or so until the shells peel back and you will be able to open them easily.  Let them cool before you start peeling.  To use the dried variety be sure to soak them and remove any red peel before cooking.